Pletnev: Rachmaninov Cto No. 1 + Paganini Rhapsody - Virgin VC 7 907241-1 (DDD)
Jacket VG / LP NM / German pressing
This superb and rare late-issue LP from Virgin Classics (VC 7 907241-1, German pressing, turquoise label, DDD stereo) features Mikhail Pletnev’s brilliant accounts of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in F-sharp minor Op. 1 and the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Op. 43, both recorded with conductor Libor Pesek and the Philharmonia Orchestra in the warm acoustics of St. Augustine’s Church, Kilburn, London, in November 1987.
Wrote the erudite and eloquent critic Victor Carr Jr. for ClassisToday:
“Mikhail Pletnev and Libor Pešek's 1988 Rachmaninov disc makes a welcome reappearance. Pešek launches the concerto with a refreshing athleticism, resisting the temptation to make the opening horn fanfare an imitation of Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony. Pletnev matches this energy with his own brisk and fluid pacing, making for a performance that's stunning in its clarity and power. Yet for all this, Pletnev lends the music a Chopinesque poetic sensitivity (especially in the slow movement) that's quite affecting.
“Ah, but it's in the Paganini Rhapsody where the sparks really fly. Pletnev invests each variation with a specific vibrancy that perfectly defines its individual character, all the while magically relating each to the whole--and his spectacular playing in the Scherzando Variation 15 will have you reaching for the repeat button. Pešek leads the Philharmonia in a vital and colorful performance and offers a particularly moving rendition of the famous Andante Cantabile variation. This is a fine effort overall, though not one to shake me from my coveted Rubinstein/Reiner classic on RCA. Virgin's recording indicates a large venue, but there's plenty of presence, depth, and clarity to the sound.”
This album was produced by Andrew Keener and engineered by Mike Clements. The execute producer was Simon Foster.
The striking cover photo of Pletnev was taken by Malcolm Crowthers, while the album design was executed by Assorted Images, London. There are authoritative liner notes by the wonderful critic William Mann, as well as an appreciation of Pletnev’s artistry by Robert Layton – all texts provided in English, German, and French.
The gradations of condition I use are as follows: MINT, Near-Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.
The condition of the jacket is VERY GOOD. There is minor corner wear, and a small needle-like stamp to the lower-right corner (this was a promo copy). There are no seamsplits, bends, owners’ markings, or other defects, and the album remains solid, bright, glossy, and attractive – overall, a very good collector’s copy.
The condition of the LP is near-MINT and playback is superb – overall, a truly fine collector's copy.